Film Review : Kondraal Paavam
By Rinku Gupta
The film is a remake of a Kannada hit and based on a literary work. The crime thriller, in a period setting of the 80's, is about the happenings within a family in a rural , isolated heartland, which take place in one night.
Mallika ( Varalaxmi) lives with her parents (Charle, Eswari Rao) who are deep in debt, one of the reasons why they have not been able to marry her off. A bleak future looms large with the moneylender lusting after her.
Into this scenario walks in a handsome stranger Arjunan (Santhosh Prathap) who seeks shelter for a night. Mallika first makes a pass at him which he rejects, which vexes her no end. Later, when the family discovers the amount of gold and money he is carrying, Mallika hatches a plot to kill him, in order to procure a secure future for herself and her parents. Do the parents agree? Does the plot succeed?
The screenplay is tight and compactly handled, with no frills nor deviations to distract. Every character that enters the scene has an important role to play in furthering the story.
Director Dayal's deft handling of the plot and the way he heightens the tension with crisp, telling dialogues and close -up frames, aided by Chezhian's fantastic camerawork and lighting and Sam CS' resounding, pulsating bgm, all elevate every frame of the movie, and heighten the suspense at every stage right till the end. The night shoot scenes are just superb. The art department derseves kudos for the period setting, which creates an atmosphere that adds to and furthers the suspense.
The icing on the cake is the fantastic casting. Each actor has given a superlative performance. For Varalaxmi Sarathkumar it's a most meaty role with several shades and she excels with her expressions, body language and dialogue delivery, making it easily among her best performances to date. Lets hope she gets more meaty characters in Tamil that bring to the fore her talent.
Santhosh Prathap with his measured dialogue delivery, confident body language and nuanced act, is perfectly cast and leaves a mark. A solid performance by the talented actor, after Sarpatta Parambarai.
Charle and Eswari Rao are a delight to watch as the couple torn between the tough decisions to make and the agony of a past tragedy.
The underlying theme of the story namely the impact of greed, lust and giving in to selfish desires, is crisply and impactfully delivered with a shattering climax.
Kondraal Paavam is raw, gritty, unpredictable, with a stunning climax to watch out for.